Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Organizational Efficiency in Atc

Preview Questions

What is meant by efficiency in Atc? Why are absenteeism and presenteeism so prevalent in some Atc units more than others? What is meant by Bottom-Up Processing Approach in the context of Atc? 

From the previous post we learned that service productivity is a function of efficiency in Atc. The controller transforms the resources that are available to produce a valuable service to the primary consumer, the pilot. If the resources are insufficient, the Atco cannot effectively perform the transformation. Of course, the controller will be frustrated to a greater or a lesser degree. 
Given the nature of Atc whereby the Atco utilizes highly specialized cognitive skills, any lack of resources: psychological, physical as well as physiological will result in the happy state of the controller to wane because her wellbeing has been adversely affected. Thus, we can intuitively deduce that the wellbeing of an Atco is closely linked to her service productivity. Think of it as a workman who arrives at the work site without all of the necessary tools.

Imagine that this worker did not have all the resources and tools at his disposal. How do you think he might feel? Will his performance be affected?

The controller whose wellbeing is in a good state will have a higher level of service productivity because she is happy. Various economic studies have proven that productivity is synonymous with performance and performance is linked with wellbeing (Heerwagen, 1998; Donald, 2005; Coyne, 2008; Oswald, 2009). If resources are lacking in the Atc unit, then the Atc unit is inefficient.
In economic evaluation, the efficient organization is the one that makes the best use of its resources without engendering waste. Efficiency can and should always be measured. This raises the question of performance indicators and organizational policy. We will never know how our Atc units are progressing if we have no framework for our indicators. 
We cannot measure progress of the Atc unit if we have no established organizational policy. One of the founding fathers of Organizational Psychology, Frederick W.Taylor noted that some organizations operate under the principle of soldiering. Another researcher stated that in some organizations mythical policies exist (Godkin & Allcorn, 2009; 2010). Which of those italicized expressions then, aptly describes your Atc unit?  
Once the latter 2 processes are present, problems will persist in the Atc unit. Focus is placed on absenteeism and presenteeism but they are not the only problems faced by several Atc units. They simply appear to be the most prevalent. I repeat, problems that persist in the Atc unit is indicative of organizational inefficiency. And inefficiency adversely affects wellbeing in Atc. 
I would like to keep the posts relatively short so that they can be enjoyably read and conveniently read at any time, I will devote the next post (for Friday) to absenteeism and presenteeism. These situations warrant a more detailed explanation from a psychoeconomic perspective. 
However we need to understand the types of approaches to dealing with evidences of organizational deficiencies. Remember the 2 images at the end of the last post? Here they are again:
Image I

Image II

With the first image, did you see the face of a woman or did you see a man playing the saxophone, or both? 
With the second image, did you see a rat with a curved tail or a man wearing glasses? 
In psychology, there are 2 explanations as to why we individually see different images depending on our perception. Some of us may see pieces of visual stimuli that the brain processes to produce images of a woman's face or a rat. This is called Bottom-up processing. 
Then some of us may look at the images and the brain almost immediately conjures similar-type images of a man playing the sax or a man wearing glasses. This is called Top-down processing. Some of us might have seen the 2 images in each picture quickly as a result of the utilization of both processes. Figuratively speaking, when dealing with persistent problems of organization, we apply the same approach at arriving at solutions or innovations. 
If a structural framework is established we can attempt to see the rat or use our indicators - our organizational stimuli in a similar manner that the brain processes stimuli to arrive at a conclusion. We can call this the Bottom - Up Processing Approach, the BUPA. In the absence of an established framework, we can try to see the bigger picture and use our individual perceptions to arrive at a conclusion. We can refer to this as the Top - Down Processing Approach, the TODPA. Which is obviously better? This will be further discussed in Friday's post. 

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